Welcome to my second post about Botafogo, has you can see from the title Botafogo went on to win a fantastic double in my first season in charge which I did not expect but as the season went on we gained momentum and started to believe we were title candidates. We kicked the Campeonato Brasiliero off with a fantastic 2-0 win away at our Rio based rivals Fluminense with goals from Sassa, and Luis Ricardo in a game which we certainly hit the ground running. Our next game was a mouth-watering home clash with São Paulo which we trailed 0-2 at half time which was a fair reflection on the first period. I changed things around a little at the break including the formation reverting to a 3412 which sempt to work from the restart with us putting our guests on the back foot which we got our reward for courtesy of a brace from Walter Montillo an half time substitute playing has an Attacking Midfielder behind our front two, Montillo’s goals earned us a point and a 2-2 draw against one of the fancied sides at the start of the season.
Talking about fancied sides our next game pitted us against favourites Atlético Mineiro in the city of Belo Horizonte, I stook with the 3412 formation and was delighted with the attacking element of our game has we overturned the favourites on their own patch 4-3 with the in form Walter Montillo grabbing a brace again along with goals from Rodrigo Pimpão and and Renan Gorne that rounded off a fantastic display of attacking football. Continuing with our tough start next we entertained six time winners Corinthians who we battled to a 2-2 draw with goals from my starting 2 front men on the night Rodrigo Pimpão and Chilean hit man Gustavo Canales. Two wins and two draws from our opening 4 games we then entertained Internacional were we continued our unbeaten start to the season with a 1-1 draw thanks to Rodrigo Pimpão who scored in his 3rd consecutive game. Our unbeaten start to the season continued with wins in our next 4 games against Vitoria 2-1, Figueirense 6-2, Chapecoense 3-0 and Sport Recife 4-1 with the highlight being Rodrigo Pimpão scoring 4 against Figueirense and young Leandrinho getting a brace in the win over Chapecoense. Our next game was a 2-2 draw against Cruzeiro thanks to two late goals from Montillo and Sassa. Next up we beat Santa Cruz 1-0 with a Bruno Silva strike. Our first league defeat came next against Atlético Mineiro on their own patch going down 1-2 with our goal coming from Leandrinho just before the break, it was a fair result with the boys from Belo Horizonte deserving the win by bringing an end to our unbeaten run that lasted 11 games. Now if you would have offered me that start to the season I would have bit your hand off. We went in to our next game against Ponte Preta still suffering from our defeat in Belo Horizonte and struggled to a 0-0 draw. I held a team meeting before our next game which was the derby against Flamengo to tell the squad that we are doing well which was received well. So to the Flamengo game and a solid 2-1 win which flattered Flamengo who had 1 shot on target that came in the 90th minute that offered no more than a consolation after Rodrigo Pimpão and Camilo had put us two up. On to our next game a 0-0 draw at home to Coritiba. Camilo has been a rock for me out on the pitch and is showing game after game that he is a quality player as well has being an experienced head, he has become already one of my all time CM/FM players.
A trip to in form Santos next produced a cracking game which we ended up winning 2-1 with both Emerson Santos and Camilo getting the goals that gave us the 3 points. The performance took us in to a top of table clash with Gremio at home were the outstanding form of Camilo continued with him capping a top performance off with a goal in a 2-0 win that put us top of the table. Our form continued on the road has we took Palmeiras apart with a convincing 3-0 win in their own back yard and yes you guessed it Camilo was amongst the goals again along with Fernandes and Rodrigo Pimpão. Our 19th Brasiliero game of the season which is the halfway point was a 1-0 win at home in the Nilton Santos against Atlético Paranaense and the goal scorer Camilo who netted his 5th goal in the last 6 games. Our record for the first half of the season read Played 19, Won 12, Drawn 6, Lost 1, Goals For 40, Goals Against 18, Pts 40. We were sitting at the top of the table and in good form and I was now focusing solely on winning the title.
The second half of the season kicked off with a 1-0 at home to Fluminense who came and gave us a good game, we had centre back Joel Carli to thank with a rare goal on the hour for all 3 points however Camilo has picked up a knock that will sideline him for a few games. Well you now how you can get a slump in form out of the blue well to coincide with Camilo getting sidelined we hit a slump in form losing 3 games on the spin against Sao Paulo (0-1), Atlético Mineiro (2-4), and Corinthians (0-3), I tried changes to the training schedule and little tweaks to the tactics to try and shake our selves up and with a trip to Port Alegre on the horizon to face Internacional I got the boys together for a team meeting and it worked we beat Internacional 2-0 with rare goals from Emerson Silva and Luis Ricardo however we slumped to a 0-1 defeat at the hands of Vitoria in our own back yard. I got the news that Camilo was back in training and would likely manage 45 minutes of game time so I included him in the squad for the derby against Figueirense and gave him the last 20 minutes of a 1-0 win after a penalty from Rodrigo Pimpão. Camilo was available for selection for the visit of Chapecoense so I decided to start him and what a choice it was has he netted a first half hat-trick in a resounding 4-1 victory to the delight of our supporters. We followed this up with wins against Sport Recife and Cruzeiro and a draw against Santa Cruz before a 3-0 win against America Mineiro. Our upturn in form had put us top of the table with 7 games to go and real chance of winning the Brasiliero for the first time since 1995, our destiny was in our own hands.
With that thought in mind we arrived in Campinas in good spirits to face struggling Ponte Preta and left wondering how we failed to break down their rear guard in a one sided 0-0 draw. We most definitely had our shooting boots on for the visit of Flamengo has we crushed them 5-0 with goals from Carli, Montillo 2, Camilo and Luis Ricardo. It was a great way to bounce back to the top of the table which we reinforced with wins against Coritiba (4-0) and Santos 2-0 to put us on the brink of the title knowing that a win in our next game away to 2nd placed Gremio would be enough to be crowned Champions. So Gremio away and pretty much a fit squad to choose from we took an early lead through Jonas after 11 minutes to settle the nerves and that it did has we were knocking on the door for the rest of the half and got our reward in the 42nd minute when Walter Montillo drilled a shot from 18 yards in to the bottom corner to take us in at the break 2-0 to the good. ‘Don’t get complacent’ I told the boys, and we we went out for the 2nd period looking motivated. We continued to dominate after the break and in a fitting point of our season in the 66th minute Camilo netted our 3rd which gave us a 3-0 win that delivered the title, we were Champions with 2 games to play and double winners in my first season in Brazil. It was a fantastic feeling and I know I could not have done it without Camilo who contributed so much at key moments during the season. We ended the season with a 2-1 win against Palmeiras and a 0-2 defeat against Atlético Paranaense but the domestic double was in our hands.
I would just like to say a big thank you to all the Fogão supporters who have been in touch in the last few weeks providing me with some excellent material on the club none less so than Regis who has supplied me with a huge amount of full match footage of O Glorioso. I have been taken a back with the amount of communication which as opened up a whole new World for me and broadened my knowledge of the South American football supporter. As FM18 draws closer I am now finding myself just messing around the game creating a few different tactical set ups and testing them with a few different levels of clubs and generally playing around with the game. I have had a few requests and interesting challenges for future FM material revolving around South America so don’t be surprised to see more Latin American influence around this blog in the future.